The project was a joint initiative between NUI Galway student Patrick Costello and GMIT student Brian Melia.
Both students were finalists in the 2016 Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur Awards ceremony and received a merit award.
Opening the gates of a livestock trailer can be hazardous due to the fact the animals can place excessive force on the gates, with the risk of potential injury to the operator, the project explains.
The livestock trailer restrainer is essentially a gate with a release mechanism that can be operated from the side of the livestock trailer.
It puts a barrier between an operator and livestock to allow them to exit the boundaries of the danger zone, which is the ramp. The device can then be released from a safe zone to the side of the trailer, putting the operator out of the trample path of the livestock.
Commenting on the award, head of mechanical engineering in NUI Galway Professor Sean Leen said: “This successful design is an excellent example of the initiative of many Irish engineering students and originated as part of the Community Awareness Initiatives Responsibly Directed by Engineers (CAIRDE) second-year engineering group design projects at NUI Galway.
“We ask students to work directly with community partners to conceive, design, make and test prototype solutions to real-world problems. It is highly rewarding to see this type of initiative getting due recognition.”
Dangers of livestock
Speaking at a seminar in May this year, Teagasc geneticist Dr Noirin McHugh said that breeding is a valuable long-term tool to increase the docility of livestock.
Commenting on the rise in farm deaths caused by cow attacks, which have exceeded bull attacks in recent years, McHugh said that cow aggression around or after calving is a genetic trait that can also be reduced through breeding. She added that bovine maternal aggression has been viewed as a physiological condition, but this is not the case and has a genetic influence.